Saying things aren’t going well for baseball fans in Queens lately is like saying a cockroach kind of messes up a bowl of ice cream. Falling from first place in the NL East to almost certainly not making the playoffs, the wheels fell off even further this week when infielder Javy Baez explained why he and others on the team, notably Francisco Lindor and Kevin Pillar, have been giving the ‘thumbs down’ symbol after big hits or plays — to troll the ever-booing Mets fans.
If there is one thing owner Steve Cohen does not want to see early on in his tenure, it’s an acrimonious relationship between star players and fans. Sure, it’s the Big Apple, so underperforming players are always going to draw the ire of the ticketed customer and social media “woulda-been big leaguers.” But players giving it right back to the fans, particularly during a monumental slide, can not sit well. The New York media, including Michael Kay, took to the airwaves to give their opinions on the matter.
“I just get the sense that it was Lindor that was really poking Baez,” said Kay. “Baez doesn’t even know the Mets fans. He’s been there 17 games. How would Baez be the guy who is going to give the dissertation on Mets fans? It had to come from Lindor, they’re best buddies.”
Craig Carton of Carton & Roberts on WFAN is never shy about his passion for the team across the way in the Bronx. He appeared to bask a little bit in the glow of the apparent meltdown for the Mets while his co-host Evan Roberts, a Mets die-hard, went off on the thumbs down gesture.
“We’ve got an out-of-touch owner, a disgruntled player who is at least honest, two other disgruntled players who aren’t honest, and we’ve got a general manager/president who is on his way out, it’s New York Mets baseball, baby!” said Carton. “Meanwhile, the Yankees lose two-in-a-row and who cares? The New York Mets are on fire!”
Chris Russo joined High Heat to give his usual dose of caffeinated rage to the players in question.
“I am completely down on the Mets,” said Russo. “Baez has been there for about a month and hits .207. In August, .207! And Lindor? Look yourself in the mirror, you’re making $40 million a year and you hit .225 with 36 RBI. Nobody cares about your defense. Look yourself in the mirror. You’ve been an embarrassment your first year.”
While the admonishments of the Mets players were aplenty locally, nationally, Dan Patrick gave a different view. He said while he understands boos for a lack of effort or apparent care by a player, when it comes to performance, he doesn’t see how it helps the fan’s beloved team do better, even if it is for a fanbase hurt as often as the Mets.
“Does booing your player or your team help?” Patrick asked. “Does it help the player and the team? Now, it might help you, because you’re angry and this is your team, and you want to win, and you’re tired of seeing this movie every single year. It ends the same way: hopes die.”
To sum it up, things are not looking up in Flushing Meadows.
16.9% of All Sports Radio Listeners Are Streaming
The news comes as Nielsen reported that 11.3% of all radio listenership comes thru a stream, up from 6.9% in May of 2020.
According to Nielsen, sports radio stations are the third-most streamed spoken word format, just behind Talk/Personality and News/Talk/Info. The trend is continuing to show that streaming is on the uptick.
The survey found that in May 2022, 16.9% of sports talk radio’s audience tunes in via the station’s online stream. That news comes as Nielson reported that 11.3% of all radio listenership comes thru a stream, up from 6.9% in May of 2020.
Nielsen notes that in the 45 PPM markets they are grabbing data from and the 4,800+ stations that stream in those markets, just 30% of them are encoded. That encoding allows for Nielsen to accurately measure the streams. They used the listener data from 1,500 stations across the U.S., in their latest report, AM/FM Radio Streaming Growth in PPM Markets.
The survey also showed that streaming levels differ widely by radio format. Spoken word formats display strong streaming listenership (Talk/Personality: 31.2%, News/Talk/Info: 19.1%, All Sports: 16.9%). In fact, Nielsen found that 1/3 of all AM/FM streaming in PPM markets is to spoken word formats.
New Study Finds Listeners to MLB on Radio Are Willing to Spend
More than one third (34%) of the respondents recently purchased clothing/apparel that features their favorite team… 27% have visited a ballpark in the past year. That compares to only 19% of the average MLB fan base has made an apparel purchase to support their team while just 11% have gone to a game in person in that same time span.
When it comes to advertiser’s attempting to reach an affluent and engaged audience, sports talk radio might have a whale on their hands. Major League Baseball play-by-play features an audience that has money and has no problems spending it.
In a recent MRI-Simmons study, data shows that consumers who listen to MLB broadcasts on the radio are the perfect audience for sports marketers. According to the analysis, done by Katz Radio Group, nearly two thirds (62%) of those surveyed consider themselves “super fans” of baseball. That number is 58% higher than the average.
Those “super fans” are willing to spend to support their team, as well. More than one third (34%) of the respondents recently purchased clothing/apparel that features their favorite team. Those fans are also far more willing to make the trip to see their team. The study found that 27% have visited a ballpark in the past year. That compares to only 19% of the average MLB fan base has made an apparel purchase to support their team while just 11% have gone to a game in person in that same time span.
The news continues getting better for advertisers. Continued analysis reveals that 66% of listeners are currently employed and have a median household income greater than $106,000.
Listeners to MLB games on the radio are also 34% more likely to place a sports bet and 106% more likely to be a participant in fantasy baseball.
Jeff Dean Signs Off At ESPN Tucson for The Final Time
Dean said on Facebook: “…the years of burning the candle at both ends has taken a dire toll on my health and for the first time in my life, I’m going to put myself and my livelihood first”
Fans will no longer be able to tune into ESPN Tucson and hear Jeff Dean hosting his show. Friday morning was his last show, according to his Facebook and Twitter pages.
The Jeff Dean Show had been airing from 7-9a MT weekday mornings. Dean took to social media to relay the news and the reason behind him stepping away from the microphone. Dean said on Facebook:
“This morning I signed off from my radio show on ESPN Tucson for the final time. I have been devoting too much of my life and my time to working multiple jobs…the years of burning the candle at both ends has taken a dire toll on my health and for the first time in my life, I’m going to put myself and my livelihood first”
Dean went on to emphasize that he isn’t stepping away from ESPN Tucson, he’s just taking himself off the air. He also added that “gladly, I will be continuing my position as PA announcer of University of Arizona Football and Men’s basketball.”
Dean would also go onto Twitter to add even further context for his self-removal from the ESPN Tucson airwaves. He added, “It’s not a decision I arrived at hastily, as it’s been a 6 month mental grind to make the ultimate decision that had to be made, and I’m not particularly happy about it, but I have to put my health first, we all do, and make sure we’re around long enough to enjoy life”.
Dean had been ESPN Tucson’s morning host since November 2019.